Movie Plot – The Mauritanian: Mohamedou Ould Slahi is fighting for freedom after being held and imprisoned by the U.S. government for years without charge.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writers: Michael Bronner, Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani
Cast: Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Levi

A true story

The Mauritanian is the true story of Mauritanian Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Slahi is apprehended by the U.S. government and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without due process and without charge. He receives help from idealistic lawyers Nancy Hollander and her assistant Teri Duncan.

I think The Mauritanian gives a very insightful look at the extent to which governments will go to cover up how they treat prisoners. We often don’t think about how things are done in the United States and other countries around the world. They are doing everything that can be done to get false testimony against someone. The end does not justify the means. That is something that the Mauritanian shed light on. This true story is based on the book Guantánamo Diary, written by Mohamedou Ould Slahi. It tells of his experiences in Guantanamo Bay.

Lately, I feel that sometimes there is too much hate in this world and even in my little country, Belgium. People judge others before they get to know each other. Perhaps one day, we will learn to treat each other as human beings and respect what is deserved until the facts are proven.

Nancy Hollander and Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Mr. Rahim is excellent in his well-written role as Mohamedou. We see how his power and disillusionment shift, and he delivers a poignant portrait of a man who is tortured and accused. In addition, Ms. Foster is convincing in her no-nonsense role as his crusader, a woman more concerned with the law than her client’s morality. She is no other than Nancy Hollander. Their attorney/client moments together are terrific and help build interest in this legal drama. Both are worthy of awards. It also shows where the line is between humanity and work.

Some of the supporting characters, though well-acted by Shailene Woodley, Zachary Lev and Benedict Cumberbatch as the prosecuting attorney, seem like stereotypical products of that era of terrorist activity and national paranoia: the gung-ho military soldiers, the liberal-thinking defense attorneys, the innocent or not-so-innocent client, the questioning prosecutor, etc. But the basic scenario of injustice rings true and offers filmgoers a gripping drama. However, that Cumberbatch was again excellent in his role.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Even if you are guilty even then, as long as you cannot prove it, you remain a terrorist in Guantanamo Bay. During the 9/11 attacks, they had to blame someone, so it might as well be you! Without people like Nancy Hollander, we would not have the excellent Tahar Rahim, who portrays the incredible injustices of Mohamedou Ould Slahi with a prize-worthy performance. He revealed some of the not-so-secret secrets behind the imprisonment of the innocent, the torture and torment of the unfortunate.

Usually, when we hear the word “torture”, we think of physical torture, but then it is also about severe mental torture. Imagine before you are so tortured that you end up saying you are guilty, so it all stops. That even though you know you are innocent. It gives a sense of powerlessness. You are fighting against something you cannot win against.


The Mauritanian gives us an inside look at how governments can be cruel and hide their mistakes. In addition, how powerful they can be and injust. Sometimes, it makes you wonder who the real terrorist are.